Tom’s Story – Supporting people with drug or alcohol addictions

We married when I was 20. I started drinking moderately when I was 17. This stepped up when my children were born. I worked hard, earned as much as I could and felt justified in spending some of our money on booze.

My wife had always wanted to run  a pub. I fell in with the idea. Over the years we ran over 30 pubs. In the best traditions of the trade, I started drinking the profits. I was drinking up to 10 pints a day during the day and wine at night.

My wife developed breast cancer. She fought this for 7 years but eventually succumbed at the age of 50. We were ‘sacked’ by the brewery because of ill-health, having been suspended for a long period of time. I managed to get a detox in the Priory and stayed sober for over 4 years. I started drinking during the last 12 months of my wife’s illness and this worsened greatly after her death.

I decided to go to college. I had always felt frustrated at missing out on the chance of a full education. I did very well but was continuing to drink. I did manage to stop off and on, but never for more than a few weeks. Ultimately I had to go to see my GP about a skin complaint. He raised drinking with me and I was referred to CWP’s service in Crewe. I found them incredibly helpful once I accepted that I wanted to stop drinking and needed help. I was referred to Changing Lanes and attended regularly. I went on to complete the Intuitive Recovery Course and then moved on to RAMP. I kept a drinking diary which was a pack of lies. Fortunately, because I took ill, I was admitted to Leighton hospital. I got a detox in there and haven’t looked back since.

Since discharge from hospital I have completed RAMP and DEAP. I have been sober now for 22 weeks and feel that I have never been happier in all my life. Since I became involved with CWP’s service I have regularly attended Changing Lanes groups. I realise that I have been very lonely since the death of my wife. I have a new family now – Changing Lanes. I go to groups to ‘top up’ my recovery and keep myself grounded. I have, in the last few days, registered to attend the Acorn Start Facilitator Training Course. I hope to progress to the point where I can take groups and give something back.